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Vanessa Araceli Garcia, A girl that can only be characterized as pure magic. She shone brighter than the sun and stars. With a heart filled with unending love, her forgiving grace, infectious smile, unwavering ability to stand firm in her boundaries and choices, and her silly spirit- words seem to fall short when I try to describe her. Her presence was far too big to diminish by mere words, but at this point my words are all I have left to give. She is a girl that deserves to be shared with the world. A true example of all it is to love and be loved.
From the start, we planned for our girl. We prepped, anxiously awaited her arrival, and welcomed her into the world with open arms and hearts exploding with admiration. I cannot even begin to count the amount of people in and out of the hospital those first few days of her life. The room felt shoulder to shoulder during visiting hours with family and friends so eager to meet our precious baby girl. The start to her life truly set the tone for the years that would follow.
Vanessa spent every waking second surrounded by family. Parents, grandparents, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins- a family tree so grand it felt like a forest. Our family is no stranger to tragedy, but I have always said that Vanessa mirrors what she receives. So knowing that our family is strong, resilient, caring, and successful- I felt comfort in knowing that Vanessa would be well on many different fronts and this in fact rang true throughout her life.
I have never met a more kind-hearted, understanding, respectful child. Vanessa truly made raising her a breeze. By the grace of God, I was somehow meticulously chosen to be her mother and what an honor that was. I never quite knew my place in this world until the moment I locked eyes with her on July nineteenth five years ago. Thereafter, I was gifted with the ability to experience so many different milestones, firsts, joy, and excitement through her.
In her time here on this Earth, Vanessa got to experience almost two years of schooling. In the school setting- she was described as a peacemaker, a great friend, amazing, and sweet. Our girl had an eagerness for learning and a love for play. She cultivated true friendships, precious memories, and had a long-lasting impact on both her peers and her teachers.
Part of my job as a parent was to also teach and perhaps the most important lesson to date was that of self confidence. The roots of her self assurance ran so deep- that no one could alter the way she perceived herself or the boundaries she placed on her own behalf. Vanessa was always incredibly sure of herself, confident in the clothing she picked out, her answers were always right, and her no meant no. Vanessa stood firm and would speak loudly about her likes and dislikes. She was honest about her feelings and felt brave enough to express them freely. She could often be reserved around new people, but I admire her for honoring her gut feelings and giving herself the right to choose not to socialize until it felt right to her. Daily affirmations were a norm in the routine in our household and I like to think that played a major role in the way she appreciated all that she was.
As a sister- Vanessa was truly the epitome of the role. Attentive, caring, cuddly, and supportive- she was all of that and then some. The boys, Jovani and Lawson, had no idea just how blessed they were with their cheerleader of a sister. Vanessa adored them both and she took so much pride in being their big sister. She taught Jovani many things about being a brother. How to share, how to make up silly dances, the fun in painting, and how fun it is to play dress up. I know she was looking forward to teaching Lawson all of that as well. She was constantly saying just how excited she was to teach him to talk, crawl, and walk. Vanessa was always so overjoyed when talking about holidays and how it was Lawson's “first time” experiencing each one of them. What a joy and an immense blessing it was to watch her shower her brothers in the same love that she often shared with the rest of her family. She truly had a heart of gold and it will forever be one of our favorite things about our girl.
From this point forward, I think it is safe to say that we will spend every day looking for her in every single way. This life keeps moving forward without her, but it feels like her presence is around every corner. All of her favorites surround us. All of her particular verbiage rings loudly in our minds. The jumpy park, all the cute snugglies, the busy park, eating chicken nuggies at “Chick-a-lay”, riding the vroom vroom, coloring, playing barbies, visiting Edventure- we will feel her all around us. From the sun shining on pretty days to the puddles that accumulate on rainy ones. I’ll see her chasing butterflies and jumping in puddles with her floral rain boots on while giggling. Vanessa Araceli Garcia, she will always have a home within our hearts. Our first love, our truest treasure.
Anxiously waiting to see her again are her parents Makayla Popovich and Daniel Garcia, her step-parents Jacob Marcum and Vanessa Escobedo Hidalgo, her brothers Jovani Garcia and Lawson Marcum, her maternal grandparents Nicole and Johnny Popovich, her paternal grandparents Chely Ruvalcaba Hernandez Salcedo and Jose Salcedo, her maternal great-grandparents Dawn and John Popovich and Helen and Steve Gonzalez, her paternal great grandmother Consuelo Hernandez, her maternal aunts Laurie Popovich (Great), Breanna Blevins, Lauren Gainey, and Ashlan Camp, her paternal aunts Adriana Ruvalcaba (Great), Jessica Lemus, Brenda Salcedo, Ruby Salcedo, Esmeralda Salcedo, her maternal uncles Lex Popovich (Great), Kenneth Blevins and Tyree Gainey, her paternal uncles Demetrio Rojas, William Lemus, and Christopher Salcedo. Vanessa is also survived by many cousins on both sides of the family and they are: Anita and Dan Boren, Haley and Brage Huffman (Corlin, Carson, Eagen, and Tate), Natalie and Jacob Nolan (Evelyn), Autumn Popovich, Kiersten Blevins, Emma Scott, Preston Blevins, Zoey Blevins, Weslee Blevins, Heaven Gainey, Aniyah Hoffman, Eliana Popovich, Brielle Popovich, Koen Popovich, Tal Popovich, Yuliana Rojas, David Rojas, Saul Rojas, Marjorie Rojas, and Emmie Salcedo. Vanessa was reunited with her uncle Wesley Camp and cousin Hailey Gainey upon arriving in Heaven on December 19, 2023.
A Celebration of Life Ceremony honoring Vanessa's life will be 2 - 5 pm on April 20, 2024 at the Pelion Community Center.